I like doing things in threes — if only because it gives me a semi-legit reason to use the word “triumvirate” — but sometimes three just isn’t enough. And sometimes, sometimes is now. That’s the case now, as in right now, as in right now you are reading this not-at-all gratuitous, unnecessary and insufferably self-satisfied intro to, yes, an unprecedented fourth consecutive bouillabaisse blog.
Get ready for yet another cavalcade of new and/or notable items from around the seemingly inexhaustible world of Minor League Baseball! No segue!
If you’ve been following the NFL playoffs over the past several weeks, then you’re aware that Peyton Manning often yells “Omaha!” prior to having the ball snapped to him. This inspired the Omaha Storm Chasers to call a promotional audible:
— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) January 21, 2014
I’ll quote from the press release, if only because it is more existential in nature than most press releases of its kind:
This upcoming Sunday will be the first without football since last September 1 and after the Super Bowl on February 2, sports fans will have a Sunday void until the next NFL season begins. To help occupy this opening, the Omaha Storm Chasers are offering specialty “Omaha! Omaha!” Plans that will feature a majority of Sunday home games throughout the 2014 season for only $31 or $55.
Inspired by the 31 “Omaha” audibles by Peyton Manning in the Denver Broncos AFC Championship win over the New England Patriots on January 19, the Storm Chasers are offering Box Seat Tickets to 9 Sunday Games for $31 (or about $3.43 per game).
Omaha Storm Chasers Baseball: Occupying the Void since 2011!
Regular readers of this never-faltering blogging empire are aware that I am a big fan of absurdist avant-garde interpretations of Minor League Baseball All-Star Game Home Run Derbies. (See Quad Cities River Bandits, Reading Phillies, Charleston RiverDogs, and Altoona Curve). On Thursday, the Wilmington Blue Rocks — hosts of this year’s Carolina League/California League All-Star Game — announced that they will be getting in on the act as well.
[The Blue Rocks will be] the first Minor League baseball club to host a Home Run Derby where players bat from the outfield and try to hit the ball into the stands behind where home plate normally resides. That is the highlight of the Hitting Challenge that will open the California League/Carolina League All-Star Game festivities….on Monday, June 16.
The hitting challenge will feature some of the best young prospects in baseball from both the Carolina League and California League competing in two events. First there will be a hitting contest featuring targets that players will have to hit in order to earn points. Then there will be a home run derby. Fans will have the opportunity to catch any dingers off of these sluggers’ bats as the Blue Rocks will flip the field at Frawley Stadium. A new batting cage will be installed in center field and derby contestants will be awarded homeruns by hitting balls into the seating area.
Last month I received an email from WordPress, service provider for the entire MLBlogs network, regarding my 2013 “Year in Blogging.” For what it’s worth, I wrote 128 posts in 2013, to bring the grand total to 1,026. This was less than in year’s past (the blog began in October of 2007), but I’d like to think what I lacked in quantity I made up for in quality? Maybe?
Not surprisingly, food-related posts brought in the most traffic. March’s write-up on the Charleston RiverDogs’ new food additions was this year’s most widely “read” post, followed by a similar post on West Michigan. And coming in at number three was a post that is now almost four years old, on the RiverDogs’ “Pickle Dog”! (I think this is because a picture from that post has been widely circulated on Pinterest.) Number four was the post that detailed my 2013 road trip itinerary — I think people actually read that one, rather than just looking at the pictures — and at number five was yet ANOTHER post featuring a Charleston RiverDogs food item.
I think the lesson here is that I should write more about the RiverDogs, but at the moment I have no new culinary information to share. So how about this video from the team’s annual holiday party, in which co-owner Bill Murray delivers his “State of the Team” address.
For more Charleston RiverDogs’ content (Bill Murray-related and otherwise), check out Josh Handler’s “Baseball from the Box Office” blog. Handler, a “rising front office professional” spent last season as a RiverDogs intern and I met him at the Winter Meetings.
Okay, I’ll stop with the gratuitous RiverDogs mentions. But for how long? Let’s return to the 2013 Year-End Blogging Report, which included the following information regarding the search terms that led people to visit Ben’s Biz.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for canadian tuxedo, ben’s biz blog,bens biz blog, skateboard, and brett favre.
The lesson here is that a picture of Brett Favre in an all-denim outfit riding a skateboard would be blog traffic gold. Can someone doctor one up for me?
Finally, a big thanks to those who have read this blog through thick and thin, especially 2013’s top 5 commenters. Take a bow Minoring in Baseball, Possum187, Dom Latkovski (Zooperstars! founder), Jordan (who may or may not be related to me) and the Charlie & Dave Army.
Okay, I’m officially out of material. Bouillabaisse mission complete!
Throughout the season, I wrote over 100 blog posts, 22 “Promotion Preview” columns, and sundry articles commemorating notable promotions taking place across Minor League Baseball.
Now it’s time to make sense of all that madness, and I need your help.
Starting today (Tuesday), and continuing on throughout the remainder of the week, I’ll be providing my top six promotions of the year in each of four categories: Giveaways, Theme Nights, Celebrity Appearances, and Miscellaneous Events.
The point of sharing these lists is not just to reminisce on the season that was, but for YOU to let me know what I’m missing. Yes, YOU. Whether you’re a fan, team employee, or covert operative existing in a shady nether region between the two entities, I want to hear from YOU.
Two promotions will be added to each list based on your input, setting the stage for next week’s series of “Promotion of the Year” polls on MiLB.com. Apathy is tantamount to treason, so rack your brain and get in touch today.
Today we’ll take a brief look at some of the season’s top giveaways, with links to how the items were originally covered in this blog and MiLB.com. My six nominees, in alphabetical order:
Brooklyn Cyclones — Ike Davis Bobble Legs
Charleston RiverDogs — Chia Head of groundskeeper Mike Williams
Iowa Cubs — Player To Be Named Later Bobblehead
Lake County Captains — Skipper Leg Lamp
Orem Owlz — Torii Hunter Bobble Arm
Portland Beavers — Viewmaster (with 10 slides featuring Beavers baseball and local military units)
So what am I missing? Let me know YOUR favorite Minor League Giveaway item of the year. I’ll be soliciting emails, tweets, comments, and telegrams throughout the remainder of the week. Silence is deadly, so speak up.
An abundance of blog-worthy items have arrived in my inbox over the past several days, causing my notebook to look like the pen and paper equivalent of a 42-car pile-up.
This, then, is an attempt to clear away the debris so that we may all arrive safely at our respective destinations.
For (fire)starters, I must mention what is scheduled to take place in Savannah on August 14. This:
The above individual is Ted Batchelor, who holds the world record for “Longest Full-Body Burn Without Supplied Oxygen.” As a prelude to Saturday’s fireworks show, he’ll be set aflame by “one lucky fan” and then circle the bases. Rest assured that I’ll have more on this in the coming days.
Another illustrious figure set to grace a South Atlantic League ballpark with his presence is stand-up comedian Gallagher, performing a post-game show at Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Ballpark on August 18.
Fans of the outrageous performer are
encouraged to get seats up close to the action as Gallagher and his “Gallagear”
always gets the audience involved in the act. Be a front row fan, but
“BYOP”, Bring Your Own Poncho, because the Master of Melon is sure to have a
messy trick or two up his striped sleeve.
The RiverDogs have actually already staged a “Watermelon Night’ promotion this season, an evening that included this iconic scoreboard image of clubhouse manager “Rally Vinnie”:
The Lake County Captains recently staged a Watermelon Night of their own, resulting in adorable images such as the following:
Fans who participated in between-inning contests received specially-baked watermelon cupcakes, although the opportunity to squash a watermelon is its own reward:
The Captains staged a more ambitious (and gut-wrenching) food-related promo just last night: The Competitive Eating Olympics. Following a format first used by the Williamsport Crosscutters in their annual “Belly Buster” competitions, contestants had to consume one item per inning.
Winner Mark Ogrize celebrates his accomplishment:
A crowd gathers to watch the riveting final round, pitting Ogrize against runner-up George Lianopolous:
This promotion was featured on Deadspin this morning, so congrats to the Captains for the national publicity. But for Minor League teams, Deadspin is like a rich bachelor uncle who sporadically drops in before turning his attention back to more titillating pursuits. I, however, am the doting mother: there for you through thick and thin, easy to take for granted, and prone to insufferable bouts of extended and unnecessary martyrdom.